A Message to Colleagues and Supporters

Two Important Events Shape Fall Agenda for VHAH/HealthEd

Dear Supporters and Friends,

This Fall 2002 Newsletter is highlighting the breadth and depth of the activities of Viet Nam Assistance for the Handicapped (VNAH) and Health and Education Volunteers (HealthEd). As you will see they range from promoting policies at the highest levels of government to providing safe, clean drinking water to extremely poor ethnic minorities in the Central Highlands of Viet Nam.

Our ability to design and implement these projects is only possible through the combined efforts of many dedicated individuals. This includes our Boards of Directors who have, over the years, pro-vided me with sage advice and counsel as well as the encouragement and support needed when difficulties arose.

The VNAH and HealthEd staffs in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and McLean, Virginia have consistently managed to guide our numerous programs and the countless details associated with each.  None of this would be possible without the generous assistance of our donors. These include the U.S. Agency for International Development, the US Department of Labor, the Freeman and Nippon Foundations, and the many wonderful individuals who directly contribute to our projects. I am extremely grateful to each and every one of you for your interest and your support. We also need to thank the Vietnamese Government for their cooperation and support as well. Our good working relationship with key agencies is crucial to our success.

I am excited to call your attention to two important events that VNAH and HealthEd will be supporting in the coming weeks. The first is our work to assist Viet Nam draft and put into practice a new nongovernmental organizations law.  Such a law would encourage the formation, in Viet Nam, of non-governmental organizations capable of providing assistance directly to the needy population. 
Working with the newly formed Vietnamese Ministry of Homeland Affairs, VNAH will assist in a key workshop held in Phan Thiet in early November. This workshop was to assess and assist efforts to draft a Vietnamese NGO law and provide opportunities for Vietnamese at all levels to better understand the great advantages such non-profit activities. Soon , we will be arranging a study tour in the United States for those in Viet Nam with prime responsibility for the drafting and implementation of this new NGO law. VNAH will work with the International Center for Non-Profit Law; long considered to be the leading international NGO in this field.

The second new activity is a Congressional Reception to be held on December 5th on Capitol Hill. The theme for this reception is “Breaking Barriers in Viet Nam.” For all too long, barriers have blocked people with disabilities from fully participating in social and economic mainstream activities. These barriers include a lack of educa-tion and training, prejudice, stereotyping and simply an inability to access schools, transportation, markets and other facilities. Too often, such barriers are due to or made worse by a lack of money to buy a prosthetic device or a suitable wheelchair. 

The reception will enable VNAH and HealthEd to publicly thank those in the Congress and the Executive Branch who have supported our efforts over the years. It will also allow VNAH and HealthEd to provide an up-date on recent progress and up-coming efforts to overcome new challenges and barriers. I hope you will all be able to attend this exciting Capitol Hill event on Dec. 5th.

Let me rededicate myself to our important works and invite you to join in our activities in this coming New Year.  Together, we can do even more in reaching back to help those in need, and see them get up on their feet to help their families and others.

Ca Van Tran